Archive for July 29, 2014

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wheel

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29 July 2014

“Good morning, Chuck,” I said.

“Good morning. Boy, am I glad to see you. So far, today has been miserable. I didn’t sleep well last night. I had three things to do: feed Goldie, take my pills, take her for a walk. I fried some liver in margarine — I left it a little rare, but no blood coming out — then washed it under the  hot water tap to get the grease off. I chopped it and put it in Goldie’s bowl.  Liver has lots of iron in it, it’s good for her. I know, a lot of people think liver and make a face, she likes it. I took my heart pills, ate a banana to get my potassium , then took Goldie out for her walk. One thing I forgot to do was to take my sleeping pill. It took about an hour to kick in. Finally, I got to sleep. I woke an hour late, so I had to rush to get down here. I went to the coffee shop to go to the bathroom. Boy, was that a mistake. A woman, who I see regularly called to me and I had a hell of a time getting away from her. I got to my spot here, didn’t even have a chance to get my cap out, when another woman, stopped right in front of me. I’ve known her for a long time, but she never gives me anything. As she was standing there one of my regulars, who usually drops me a twenty, walked right by. He couldn’t get near me because of this stupid woman!

“Goldie is feeling a bit sluggish because of all she ate last night. She’ll be fine after she walks some of it off. One thing I’ve got to look forward to is I’m being taken out for lunch.

“Goldie, back! Service dog, special just like you. That’s a good girl. You stay here.”

A man with a white cane said, “Good morning!”

Chuck said, “Good morning.  Walk a little to your left, you’re outside the lines for the cross walk. A little more to the left. Okay, you’re fine now.

“I’ve had my differences with him. Well, not with him exactly, it’s just our dogs don’t get along. Anyway, he got across.”

A woman stopped to pat Goldie. She said to Chuck, “I work with Dennis.”

Chuck said, “That’s unfortunate for you.”

A bicycle, moving fast, crossed the corner of the sidewalk, sloped for easy access by wheelchairs, nearly hit Goldie. “Hey, get off the sidewalk!” yelled Chuck. “Those sons of bitches don’t give a damn about anyone but themselves. We were on a path by the river and two bicycled came towards us. They wouldn’t move out of the way. They expected me to move. Remember a while back, a small boy was hit by two bicycles racing along one of the paths. He ended up with scrapes on his leg and, I think, a broken arm. Do you think anything was done about that? No, sir. They said, ‘We’re sorry.’ A lot of good that did. They should have been charged for assault with a deadly weapon. I get pissed off just thinking about it.

“See that woman wearing the short skirt, riding the bicycle. At least she’s obeying the rules. She must be cold with all that leg showing. If I were a few years younger I wouldn’t mind warming her. That reminds me of a joke. You’ve heard of King Arthur, Guenevere and Sir Lancelot. That’s a good name for him. Anyway, King Arthur was going off to war. He locked a chastity belt on Guenevere, then handed the key to his loyal, trusted friend Lancelot. Before the king had even ridden out of town, Lancelot came charging after him. ‘Your highness,’ he said, ‘there’s been a mistake. You gave me the wrong key!’ What do you think of that?

“You know, there is all this talk about the Holy Grail, made of silver, that Arthur’s soldiers went on the Crusades to find.  I’m a Catholic, but there was no silver cup. Sure there was Jesus and the Apostles at the Last Supper, but they were poor men. They couldn’t afford silver. The Crusades took place for the same reason that a lot of wars took place. The army was bored and they hungered for loot. They were clean-shaven, Muslims wore beards. They wanted to kill any man with a beard and take everything he had.

“Have you heard about the battle with Saladin? He was a leader of the Muslims. The battle for Jerusalem went back and forth. First Saladin took it. When his soldiers entered the city of Jerusalem, they were not allowed to kill civilians, rob people or damage the city.

While in control of Acre, Richard the Lionheart, leading the Christians, massacred 2000 Muslim soldiers who they had captured. Saladin had agreed to pay a ransom for them but somehow there was a breakdown in the  process of payment and Richard ordered their execution. He had their heads cut off, every last one of them, man woman and child. That’s religion for you. That’s the glory of England.”

“I have to go, Chuck. Take care, I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“Bye, Dennis, see you tomorrow.”

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homeless

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29 July 2014

I sat with Little Chester and Debbie on the sidewalk. I said, “Chester that’s quite a hat you have on. I’ve never seen a pink Mack Truck cap.”

“No, you don’t see many of these. Pink, I think that stands for breast cancer. My mother died of breast cancer in 1971, but it still hurts.”

Debbie was slurring her words.  She said, “Last night I had a wonderful dream about my daughter. She’d grown into a beautiful woman, just like I know she would.”

I asked, “Are you in contact with your daughter?”

“No, she won’t have anything to do with me. I have two daughters, 22 and 23 and a son 14.  Just before my mother died — she died of breast cancer. Just before she died she asked me what I was going to do with my life. I said, ‘I’ll probably end up being a bag lady. Here I am fifteen years later, with three bags.

“I have a lot of information, even more than the medical community. Someday, I’m going to write it in my book. I’m going to call it Debbie’s Book.”

I asked, “How are you coming with your writing?”

“Not so good now — I’m drunk, but some day I’m going to get it all together. My book is going to be about how we should all live together in peace. It’s going to tell the truth about how it is with us.”

“That’s a good idea,” said Chester, “We should all get along together, help each other.”

Debbie said, “Greg, I want to ask you something.”

Albert replied, “First of all my name’s not Greg.”

“I’m sorry, Chester, have you got a smoke?”

“No.”

Mariah, said hello then walked towards the park.”

Chester said, “Oh, Dennis, I forgot to tell you. Joy is in hospital. I don’t know any details, but there’s a bunch up there. They probably know what going on with her.”

I said, “I’m going to wander up there. I’ll see you two later.”

“Bye, Dennis”

I walked up to Big Jake in his wheelchair and said, “I’m sorry to hear that Joy is in hospital.”

“You heard? Yeah, she couldn’t get out of bed yesterday. I called an ambulance. She didn’t have much control of her arms and legs. They’ll have her doing lots of physio. I can just hear all the screaming and swearing. She doesn’t get enough exercise, that’s why her legs and arms are weak. I’m going up there now to visit her.

“Dennis, could you do me a big favor?  I really hate to ask, but could you cash Joy’s ODSP (Ontario Disability Support Program) check? I have it here, she hasn’t signed it over yet.”

I asked, “How would we work that out?”

“Anyway that works for you. I’ve got a bunch of things to do tomorrow morning, so maybe sometime in the afternoon. Say, between 1:00 and 3:00?”

I said, “I could meet you in front of my bank at 3:00.  I’ll see if I can cash it.”

“Do you think they will hold it for two weeks until it clears?”

“No, I don’t think so. It’s a government check. We can try it and see what they say.”

“Thanks, Dennis, that would make things a lot easier for her in hospital. They won’t even let her have a wheelchair. So, I’ll see you at 3:00, tomorrow. Do you think you could lend me twenty bucks?”

“Sorry, Jake, I never carry cash with me.”

“I thought that was too much to ask.  Bye, and thanks.”

Little Jake asked, “Dennis, can you spare some bus tickets? I went to get my bus pass. It seemed that there were just five people in line. I thought to  myself, sweet, I won’t have long to wait. I took my place behind the last person, then about twenty people started yelling at me, ‘Hey, bud, the end of the line is down the hall. Don’t but in.’ I didn’t know. I had just finished a joint. How was I supposed to know that there was a line across the hall? I figured I better get out. Some of those people looked really mad.”

Jacques asked, “So, you didn’t go back later? Is it that you’re too lazy now?”

“Fuck off, Jacques. Get off my case. Dennis, do you like Starbucks? Somebody gave me a card from there, but I don’t like their coffee. I think there’s about fifteen bucks on it.”

I asked, “Don’t you want to use it to buy a sandwich or something?”

“No, I don’t like their food either. I ordered a smoothie the other day. It was so thick, I had to eat it with a spoon. It’s no wonder, they put a whole fuckin’ banana in it. I said to the woman behind the counter, ‘I’m a smoker, but my face is turning blue trying to suck anything through this straw.’ Take it, it’ll make up for some of the ones you gave me.”

“Thanks, Jake. I appreciate that.”

Mariah was talking about assisted housing. She said, “Once I was in a place like that. I shared it with a room mate, but she was never around when the rent was due. I couldn’t pay the rent by myself and Charlie wasn’t working, so I had to let it go. The landlord said, ‘I’m really sorry to see you leave. You kept the place under control.’ That was true. Charlie and I would kick the crackheads out. I’d chase them to the elevator, he’d chase them to the stairs. They had nowhere else to go but out. It was crazy, they’d set fires. They’d run in the corridors, up and down the stairs. There was no reasoning with them.”

I asked Loretta, “How many months is it now?”

“Sixteen, it’s still hard though. My boyfriend and I were in the beer store. He was getting his beer. I was just looking at my favorite brand on the wall, Labatt, Maximum Ice, 7.1 %. He asked me, ‘Are you going to get something?’ I said, “No, just get me out of here.’

I said, “I notice that you’re not wearing your dentures. Don’t they fit properly?”

“I’m just giving my gums a rest today.”

I was leaving at the same time as Ghyslain, so we walked together. He said, “I’m just going to see my ex landlady.”

“So, do you have a new place to stay?”

“No, I sleep here and there. I had to get out of that place. Crackheads were living in the apartment above me. They’d crank their music up at two in the morning. They’d piss against the side of my house. They even pissed through my bedroom window. That’s gross. How can somebody act like that?”

I asked, “Did you call the police?”

“Yeah, but they didn’t come. I phoned my landlady, she was afraid to come.”

“Will you get any money back?”

“No, I paid first and last month’s rent. I don’t think I’ll see any of that, but that’s what I’m going to talk to her about.”

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